Notes On Attention Paid

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Entropy, Social Entropy and Carnot Cycles

… i tried to use the word entropy to describe a situation this morning and realized that i don’t really understand it… i duck, duck go the term and turn up this article in Wikipedia… from there i follow a link to the disambiguation of Entropy… where i find that in the study of social systems, entropy is the natural tendency for any such system to decay… and i think, that seems to be what we are in the midst of right now… the decay of our organizing democratic norms… i start to think i want to do more reading on entropy… at least come to understand it so that i can apply the concept more accurately…

… as i start to post this, a thought passes through my brain that is based on my perusal of Wikipedia articles on the Carnot Heat Engine and the Carnot Cycle, situated within the Wikipedia article on entropy… i read that the Carnot Cycle is a reversible process, that is, instead of heat being used to do work, a heat engine, work can be done to accumulate heat, a heat pump… the Carnot Cycle is reversible and thus, one can have a heat engine or a heat pump… heat engines enable heat energy to be converted to work… heat pumps use work to concentrate heat energy…

… now, in my feeble brain, i combine this idea with the idea of social entropy, which jumps me to social media, and i wonder, do you have something like Carnot Cycles in the operation of a social network?… that is, do social networks pump human emotional heat from one place to another?… is radicalization on social media a kind of social heat pump?… are then, events like the January 6 attack on the Capitol, the result of a social Carnot Cycle in which human anger is concentrated and then released in the form of an angry mob storming the Capitol?… do algorithms act as switches to determine which part of the Carnot Cycle is in operation, heat pump or heat engine?…

… we have learned from Frances Haugen, the FB whistle blower, that human anger was discovered by FB to be a powerful aggregator, much more so than love or empathy… their engineers created algorithms to use shared anger to congregate market segments where they can be sold to with pinpoint accuracy…

… it has always been that sex sells, but it appears that anger and hatred are very effective sales aggregators too… in a strict and unregulated market capitalist society, the system objective is to accumulate as much heat as possible and cause it to do work that can be realized as gain of capital… might it be possible to have a different type of social system where the emphasis is placed on the accumulation of positive human emotions and actions where social and planetary well being is the primary objective?… to create algorithms that consistently pump us in the direction of social well being?… hmmm…